EmbeddedRelated.com

Parlez vous Fortran?

Colin Walls June 24, 2024

A look at the variety of programming languages that are [or have been] used for embedded and some thoughts on the future possibilities.


ANCS and HID: Controlling Your iPhone From Zephyr

Mohammed Billoo June 11, 2024

In this blog post, we see how certain BLE services can be used to control an iPhone from a Nordic nRF52840 using The Zephyr Project. Specifically, we see how to control certain multimedia functionality using the HID service. Finally, we learn how to use the ANCS client library provided by Nordic in The Zephyr Project to accept or decline an incoming call.


Core competencies

Colin Walls May 27, 2024

Creating software from scratch is attractive, as the developer has total control. However, this is rarely economic or even possible with complex systems and tight deadlines.


Finite State Machines (FSM) in Embedded Systems (Part 4) - Let 'em talk

Massimiliano Pagani May 22, 20242 comments

No state machine is an island. State machines do not exist in a vacuum, they need to "talk" to their environment and each other to share information and provide synchronization to perform the system functions. In this conclusive article, you will find what kind of problems and which critical areas you need to pay attention to when designing a concurrent system. Although the focus is on state machines, the consideration applies to every system that involves more than one execution thread.


Introduction to PIC Timers

Luther Stanton May 8, 2024

The fourth in a series of five posts looks at 8-bit PIC hardware timers. After a review of basic timer functionality, the Timer0 module operation and configuration is reviewed and a basic application implemented using Timer0 to blink external LEDs at a frequency of 0.5Hz.


Finite State Machines (FSM) in Embedded Systems (Part 3) - Unuglify C++ FSM with DSL

Massimiliano Pagani May 7, 2024

Domain Specific Languages (DSL) are an effective way to avoid boilerplate or repetitive code. Using DSLs lets the programmer focus on the problem domain, rather than the mechanisms used to solve it. Here I show how to design and implement a DSL using the C++ preprocessor, using the FSM library, and the examples I presented in my previous articles.


C++ Assertion? Well Yes, But Actually No.

Massimiliano Pagani April 8, 2024

Assertions are a double-edged sword - on one side you enforce program correctness catching bugs close to their origin, on the other your application is subject to run-time error, like any interpreted language. This article explores what C++ can offer to get the advantages of assertions, without risking the crashes by moving contract checking at compile time.


The volatile keyword

Colin Walls April 1, 20245 comments

Although the C keyword volatile is very useful in embedded applications, care is needed to use it correctly and vigilance is required to ensure its correct implementation by compilers.


Understanding Microchip 8-bit PIC Configuration

Luther Stanton March 26, 20243 comments

The second post of a five part series picks up getting started developing with Microchip 8-bit PIC Microcontroller by examining the how and why of processor configuration. Topics discussed include selecting the oscillator to use during processor startup and refining the configuration once the application starts. A walk through of the code generated by the Microchip IDE provides a concrete example of the specific Configuration Word and SFR values needed to configure the project specific clock configuration.


Finite State Machines (FSM) in Embedded Systems (Part 2) - Simple C++ State Machine Engine

Massimiliano Pagani March 14, 2024

When implementing state machines in your project it is an advantage to rely on a tried and tested state machine engine. This component is reused for every kind of application and helps the developer focus on the domain part of the software. In this article, the design process that turns a custom C++ code into a finite-state machine engine is fully described with motivations and tradeoffs for each iteration.


Analyzing the Linker Map file with a little help from the ELF and the DWARF

Govind Mukundan December 27, 201522 comments

When you're writing firmware, there always comes a time when you need to check the resources consumed by your efforts - perhaps because you're running out of RAM or Flash or you want to optimize something. The map file generated by your linker is a useful tool to aid in the resource analysis. I wanted to filter and sort the data generated in an interactive way so I wrote a C# WinForms application that reads the data from the map and presents it in a list view (using the awesome


Chebyshev Approximation and How It Can Help You Save Money, Win Friends, and Influence People

Jason Sachs September 30, 201220 comments

Well... maybe that's a stretch. I don't think I can recommend anything to help you win friends. Not my forte.

But I am going to try to convince you why you should know about Chebyshev approximation, which is a technique for figuring out how you can come as close as possible to computing the result of a mathematical function, with a minimal amount of design effort and CPU power. Let's explore two use cases:

  • Amy has a low-power 8-bit microcontroller and needs to compute \( \sqrt{x} \)...

Understanding and Preventing Overflow (I Had Too Much to Add Last Night)

Jason Sachs December 4, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving! Maybe the memory of eating too much turkey is fresh in your mind. If so, this would be a good time to talk about overflow.

In the world of floating-point arithmetic, overflow is possible but not particularly common. You can get it when numbers become too large; IEEE double-precision floating-point numbers support a range of just under 21024, and if you go beyond that you have problems:

for k in [10, 100, 1000, 1020, 1023, 1023.9, 1023.9999, 1024]: try: ...

Zebras Hate You For No Reason: Why Amdahl's Law is Misleading in a World of Cats (And Maybe in Ours Too)

Jason Sachs February 27, 20171 comment

I’ve been wasting far too much of my free time lately on this stupid addicting game called the Kittens Game. It starts so innocently. You are a kitten in a catnip forest. Gather catnip.

And you click on Gather catnip and off you go. Soon you’re hunting unicorns and building Huts and studying Mathematics and Theology and so on. AND IT’S JUST A TEXT GAME! HTML and Javascript, that’s it, no pictures. It’s an example of an


Using the Beaglebone PRU to achieve realtime at low cost

Fabien Le Mentec April 25, 20148 comments
Introduction

I work as an engineer in a synchrotron facility. A few weeks ago, I helped the people in charge of the power supply developments to integrate a realtime control algorithm on a prototype platform: a BeagleBone Black (BBB) running Linux. I had already worked with this board in the past, and I found it very interesting given its excellent resources versus price ratio (around 40 euros). This time, I was impressed by its realtime capabilities. I thought it would be a good idea to...


Coroutines in one page of C

Yossi Kreinin August 20, 201315 comments

A coroutine is a function that you can jump back into after returning from it - and it remembers where it was in the code, and all the variables. This is very useful at times.

One use is generating a sequence of values. Here's how you can generate all the x,y pairs in a 2D range in Python:

def iterate(max_x, max_y): for x in range(max_x): for y in range(max_y): yield x,y for x,y in iterate(2,2): print x,y

This prints:

0 0 0 1 1 0 1 1

The yield keyword is like...


Important Programming Concepts (Even on Embedded Systems) Part I: Idempotence

Jason Sachs August 26, 20145 comments

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of subtle concepts that contribute to high quality software design. Many of them are well-known, and can be found in books or the Internet. I’m going to highlight a few of the ones I think are important and often overlooked.

But first let’s start with a short diversion. I’m going to make a bold statement: unless you’re a novice, there’s at least one thing in computer programming about which you’ve picked up...


Using the C language to program the am335x PRU

Fabien Le Mentec June 7, 201481 comments
Introduction

Some weeks ago, I published an article on how we used the PRU to implement a power supply control loop having hard realtime constraints:

//www.embeddedrelated.com/showarticle/586.php

Writing this kind of logic in assembly language is not easy. First the assembly language itself may be difficult to learn depending on your background. Then, fixed and floating point arithmetics require lot of code. While macros help to handle the complexity, they still are error prone as you...


C++ on microcontrollers 1 - introduction, and an output pin class

Wouter van Ooijen October 9, 20117 comments

 

This blog series is about the use of C++ for modern microcontrollers. My plan is to show the gradual development of a basic I/O library. I will introduce the object-oriented C++ features that are used step by step, to provide a gentle yet practical introduction into C++ for C programmers.  Reader input is very much appreciated, you might even steer me in the direction you find most interesting.

I am lazy. I am also a programmer. Luckily, being a lazy...